The national broadcaster of Bosnia & Herzegovina, BHRT, is threatened with closure unless “immediate action” is not taken to solve a funding crisis at the channel.
The broadcaster, responsible for the participation of the Balkan nation in Eurovision between 1993 and 2016, has been absent from Europe’s flagship showpiece for six years due to a lack of funding. It now seems the situation is hitting critical mass, with the EBU releasing a statement this evening.
“The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) called today on authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take immediate action to identify a sustainable solution for BHRT’s funding problems and prevent its closure.”
“BHRT has an outstanding debt of EUR 32 million owed to it by the public broadcaster in the Republika Srpska, RTRS, who, under law, should provide a percentage of revenues collected through the licence fee. This is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit.”
Director general of the EBU, Noel Curran, goes on to state that “The closure of such an important institution would have direct implications for the public at a time when access to trusted news is critical. According to Bosnia and Herzegovina legislation, the state has the responsibility to ensure the sustainable funding of public service media and its independent functioning.”
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s EBU membership has been under threat for a number of years now due to funding shortages. It was recently reported that the broadcaster is keen to return to Eurovision as soon as possible but ultimately is unable to until adequate funding is in place to allow for participation costs.
We hope that the funding crisis at BHRT can be resolved soon and that we may hopefully see one of our most missed nations return to the contest soon!
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